Coker College Hosts National Library of Medicine Exhibit Featuring a History of Mind-Altering Substances

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Hartsville, S.C. – November 17, 2017  –  Coker College is currently hosting a traveling exhibition, Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions, which was produced by the National Library of Medicine in coordination with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.                       

Mind-altering drugs have been used throughout the history of America. While some remain socially acceptable, others are outlawed because of their toxic, and intoxicating, characteristics. These classifications have shifted at different times in history, and will continue to change. The six-banner traveling exhibition Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures & Medical Prescriptions explores the factors that have shaped the changing definitions of some of our most potent drugs, from medical miracle to social menace. The substances featured are tobacco, alcohol, opium, cocaine and marijuana.     

A “Digital Gallery” offering a selection of digitized, historical texts from the History of Medicine Division’s diverse collections can be found as part of the online version of the exhibition ( These images provide viewers with new avenues to explore beyond the exhibition. Educators will also find expanded resources online for middle school and college level classroom use.                                    

The exhibit has been traveling around the country since 2015 and was curated by Manon Parry, PhD, Assistant Professor of Public History at the University of Amsterdam. The exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. For more information, please visit

Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions
A portable museum exhibition.

Monday, November 13, through Wednesday, December 13.
The lobby of the Charles W. and Joan S. Coker Library Information Technology Center.
Free and open to the public.



Coker College is a student-focused, private liberal arts college located in Hartsville, South Carolina. Coker combines round table, discussion-based learning with hands-on experiences to encourage active participation in and out of the classroom. A supportive, close-knit community prepares Coker students with the confidence and practical life skills they need to reach their personal best, in college and beyond.

Founded in 1908, Coker is a bachelor’s and master’s degree-granting institution and competes in 21 NCAA Division II sports. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review, and by Washington Monthly as one of the Southeast's "Best Bang for the Buck" colleges.